Should Young Soccer Players Use Throw-ins?

Soccer Classroom believes that coaches at  U6 and U8 should not utilize throw-ins as a method of putting the ball back into play. The reasons for this:

  • Agility skills are still being developed and throwing a ball in properly is very difficult at these ages
  • We spend all our time explaining  to these young soccer players they can only use their feet. From there, we tell them to pick up a ball and throw it in a very specific way. Now, think about that from a young player only starting to understand the game. That doesn’t make much sense, does it?
  • Far more important skills to develop other technical soccer skills. Remember, the only point of a throw-in is to get the ball back into play.
  • Since the players do not understand space and are challenged to “go the right way”, they are very likely to throw the ball in the wrong way

It is much more effective to simply play another ball into bounds and pickup the “out of bounds” ball, so play continues fluidly and without distraction. This optimizes the time of the ball to develop soccer skills at this age. They will certainly have plenty of time to learn the technical and tactical side of throwing the ball in at later ages.

Published by

The Coach

Jerry Macnamara is “The Coach” and founder at Soccer Classroom. For more than thirty years, Coach has been a player, coach, trainer and administrator. He shares your passion for the game and helping players grow through age appropriate soccer skills and drills. Feel free to contact Coach with questions

3 thoughts on “Should Young Soccer Players Use Throw-ins?”

  1. I see no problem with having kids this age do throw-ins, but there should not be devoted coaching time to this. I have coached kids from age 4-18 and all you need to do is point the younger ones toward the goal and have them throw in that direction over their head with both hands. Do it quickly and don’t spend time setting the team up.

    Very little time wasted here and the kids get comfortable with a technique they will use in soccer for years to come.


    Comment by The Coach
    October 28, 2010

    Hi John-

    Thanks for your comment and perspective. Sure, you can do it. We just don’t think it is the best use of time and learning at this age. Kids at this age lack the fundamental coordination to throw-in a ball properly, which means we would be starting with improper technique that will need to be corrected. Also, we’d much rather see and advocate more time spent on the ball dribbling. This is not to mention that kids at this age haven’t developed spatial awareness…throwing in the “right direction” and “out of bounds” are foreign concepts. There will be plenty of time to coach throw-ins (which happen to be a fraction of the time spent on the game).

    There is a program in Georgia called, Kicking is not Soccer. You should read the program pilot if you’re so inclined. I’ve seen it in action at Columbus Youth Soccer and it works. There are no “boundaries” per se and balls are played back in by coaches when players are wandering too far. They simply throw another ball back towards the middle of the field. Works brilliantly and keeps the game always moving!


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